Los Angeles

10 things you need to know today: May 20, 2015

(AP Photo)

THE WEEK

1.Takata makes recall largest in U.S. automotive history
Japanese airbag maker Takata announced Tuesday that it was doubling its recalls in the United States to cover 33.8 million vehicles, making it the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Takata airbag inflaters can explode upon deployment, spraying shrapnel. The airbags have been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. The company made the announcement with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulators. Administrator Mark Rosekind said the safety agency’s goal is “a safe airbag in every vehicle.”

Source: The New York Times

2.Los Angeles council tentatively approves $15 an hour minimum wage
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday preliminarily approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020, up from the current $9 an hour. The vote was 14 to 1. Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle have adopted similar laws, but Los Angeles, if the proposal receives final approval, will be the largest city to mandate such a large wage hike. The L.A. ordinance would affect as many as 800,000 workers, marking a major victory for worker advocates.

Source: Los Angeles Times

3.Judge tells State Department to release Hillary Clinton’s emails faster
A federal judge on Tuesday told the State Department to speed up the schedule for releasing thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state. The State Department had said a day earlier that its review would delay the public release of the 55,000 pages of emails, in bulk, until January 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras gave the State Department a week to produce a plan for a rolling release of the emails. Clinton, now running for president, said she wants the emails released as soon as possible.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Politico

4.North Korea claims it can miniaturize nuclear warheads
North Korea said Wednesday that it had developed the technology to miniaturize nuclear warheads so that they would be small enough to be mounted on missiles. A top U.S. military officer had said a day earlier that the rogue communist nation was years away from developing such missiles. Just weeks ago, Pyongyang released photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un allegedly observing the testing of a submarine-launched missile that could carry such a warhead. Experts suggested the photos had been doctored.

Source: CNN

5.Malaysia and Indonesia offer to take in migrants
Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Wednesday to temporarily shelter 7,000 migrants stranded at sea. The announcement signaled what could be a breakthrough in a humanitarian crisis that has plagued Southeast Asia for weeks as governments in the region declined to take responsibility for the migrants. Some of the migrants are Bangladeshis fleeing poverty, but most are members of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. Under the agreement, the international community must resettle and repatriate the migrants within a year.

Source: The Associated Press

6.House panel backs limit on ex-presidents’ spending
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesdaybacked a proposal to limit spending of taxpayer money on travel and other expenses run up by former presidents who make more than $400,000 a year. The bill for the four living ex-presidents’ pensions and benefits came to $3.5 million last year. George W. Bush’s tab came to $1.3 million last year. Clinton’s was $950,000. Most of the money paid for their offices — Bush’s in Dallas, and Clinton’s in New York. Former presidents can earn millions a year in speaking fees alone; since leaving office, Clinton has reportedly collected $127 million.

Source: Politico

7.Estimated 21,000 gallons of oil leak off the California coast
A ruptured pipeline is estimated to have leaked 21,000 gallons of oil into the ocean off California’s Santa Barbara County coast on Tuesday. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson said that by 3:45 p.m., the leak had left a four-mile long sheen of oil along Refugio State Beach in Goleta. The leak was first spotted at noon, and it was stopped by coast guard crews by 3 p.m. The pipeline is operated by Plains All America Pipeline, L.P., and runs along the coast near Highway 101.

Source: Los Angeles Times

8.Regulators accuse cancer charities of “sham”
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday accused four cancer philanthropies of bilking donors out of $187 million. The FTC called the activities of the charities — the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and the Breast Cancer Society — a “sham.” The accusations cover the period from 2008 to 2012. The charities are all run by James Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, Rose Perkins, or his son, James Reynolds Jr.

Source: The Washington Post

9. Israel launches, then suspends, plan to segregate West Bank buses
Israel suspended a trial of new rules separating Palestinian and Jewish passengers on buses traveling to the West Bank early Wednesday, hours after introducing them in what was to be a three-month trial. About 500,000 people live in Jewish settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967. Jewish settler groups are calling for segregated travel on security grounds, but human rights groups said the plan was racist. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “unacceptable.”

Source: BBC News

10.Patriots decide not to challenge team’s Deflategate punishment
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday said his team would not appeal its punishment for under-inflating balls in last season’s AFC Championship game. The NFL imposed a $1 million fine and docked the team two draft picks. Kraft said sanctions were unfair, but that fighting the punishment them would only extend the Deflategate scandal and hurt the league. Quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended four games for his involvement, is appealing his punishment with the support of the players’ union.

Source: Yahoo Sports

 

Witnesses Say LA Police Shot And Killed A Man While He Was Laying On The Ground

LA Police Shootings | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/REED SAXON

Apparently “militarized” police all over the country are not immune to this problem…

Think Progress

Los Angeles police shot and killed a 25-year-old who his family said suffered from mental disabilities. Ezell Ford, 25, was shot Monday night and died after being transported to the hospital, according to KTLA.

The shooting comes in the wake of tense protests, stand-offs with police, and lootings over the death of Michael Brown, another in a line of unarmed young black men shot by police. KTLA does not indicate whether Ford was carrying a gun at the time of the incident, and police could not confirm for ThinkProgress whether or not Ford was armed, but the Rootreports Ford was unarmed. LAPD said no officers were injured during the incident.

Los Angeles-area residents are already planning their own protest for Sunday, which was announced in a Facebook post that calls the shooting a “murder” and references Michael Brown’s death.

A woman who identified herself as Ford’s mother said he was laying on the ground at the time of the shots. And another who said he was Ford’s cousin told KTLA he was around the corner at the time of the shooting, and saw him shot after they laid him on the ground on his back. “Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that — that this child has mental problems,” he told KTLA.

A week earlier, another man died in a police confrontation in the same region of South Los Angeles. That victim was stopped in his car after he was allegedly drived erratically, and attempted to flee on foot after he exited his car, according to an LAPD news release. Officers apprehended him, and he somehow died after sustaining a “laceration” in the police car and being transferred to the hospital. The Los Angeles Times identified the man as 37-year-old Omar Abrego, and reported that he suffered a severe concussion, as well as “multiple facial and body contusions.”

In the Los Angeles area, there have been at least 303 people killed in officer-involved shootings, according to a Los Angeles Times database. The news of Michael Brown’s death was the third of an unarmed young black man killed at the hands of police to make national news in the course of a week, and Ford would be the fourth if he was unarmed. An unnamed Department of Justice official told USA Today Tuesday that the Department would conduct a national review of police tactics in light of the spate of incidents.

10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2013

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service.

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The Week

Obama praises Mandela at a massive memorial service, an ice storm hammers the East, and more

1. Obama eulogizes Mandela at memorial service
President Obama joined 100 other world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in a Johannesburg soccer stadium on Tuesday. Obama said the late South African leader was an inspiration to him, personally, and an example of the power of reconciliation. Former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter also attended in a high-profile show of American respect for Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. [ReutersCBS News]
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2. Icy storm continues to batter the East
A winter storm is continuing to ravage the East Coast on Tuesday. Snow and icy conditions forced airlines to cancel 775 flights on Tuesday, down from 1,900 on Monday and 2,800 on Sunday. “I don’t think it’s going to warm up anytime soon,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan told Reuters. Authorities in Nevada are searching for two adults and four children who went out to play in the snow Sunday and didn’t return. [Christian Science MonitorCNN]
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3. Riot erupts in Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ordered an investigation on Monday into Singapore’s first riot in four decades, which broke out in the Little India district after a foreign worker was struck and killed by a bus. Tensions had already been rising over the city-state’s large population of foreign workers. Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee called the violence intolerable. “It is not the Singapore way,” he said. [BloombergBBC News]
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4. U.S. sells its last GM stock, ending the bailout
The federal government sold its last shares of General Motors stock on Monday, officially ending the bailout of the troubled automaker. Taxpayers wound up losing $10.5 billion of the $49.5 billion invested five years ago. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the money helped save a million jobs and keep the recession from becoming a depression. GM executives say losing the “Government Motors” label will be good for the company. [New York Times]
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5. Prosecutors charge Los Angeles deputies with abuse
Eighteen current and former Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies were indicted Monday on charges of abusing inmates and jail visitors. All of the defendants worked in jails in downtown L.A., part of the largest jail system in the country. Federal authorities have been looking into the county’s jails for more than two years following several lawsuits accusing deputies of misconduct and abuse. [New York Times]
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6. Zimmerman’s girlfriend says he didn’t point gun at her
George Zimmerman’s girlfriend is now saying she wants to drop all charges in a domestic violence incident that led to his arrest. The woman, Samantha Scheibe, said in her 911 call last month that Zimmerman had pointed a gun “at [her] freaking face,” but now she says he didn’t, according to an affidavit signed Friday and filed in a Florida court. Zimmerman, acquitted last summer in Trayvon Martin’s killing, faces assault and other charges. [Los Angeles Times]
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7. Former official from L.A. suburb convicted of corruption
Angela Spaccia, a former assistant city manager from a Los Angeles suburb, was convicted Monday on corruption charges including misappropriating public funds and falsifying government records. Prosecutors said Spaccia was involved in approving huge salaries for government officials — she made more than $340,000 — in a city afflicted with “corruption on steroids.” The case nearly drove the city, Bell, to bankruptcy. [Associated Press]
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8. Founder of French company is jailed over faulty breast implants
A Marseille court sentenced Jean-Claude Mas, founder of a French breast-implant company, to four years in prison on Tuesday four fraud. He was also fined $137,000. Mas’ company, Poly Implant Prothese, sold implants made with substandard silicone and prone to rupture to 300,000 women in 65 countries. The French government urged women to have the implants removed. Several other former PIP executives have also been jailed and fined. [France24]
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9. Men allegedly stole part of the car Paul Walker died in
California police have accused two men with stealing a roof panel of the mangled Porsche sports car in which actor Paul Walker of the Fast & Furious movie franchise died. Los Angeles County prosecutors on Monday filed grand theft charges against Jameson Witty, 18, and Anthony Janow, 25, for allegedly taking the part from a tow truck that was taking the wreckage of the Porsche Carrera GT away from the crash site. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. Curiosity rover finds traces of an ancient lake on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars, according to findings published in the journal Science on Monday. Scientists believe the lake was there about 3.5 billion years ago — around the time life was springing up on Earth — and lasted hundreds of thousands of years. The water might have been drinkable, and could have sustained life. [Washington Post]

FBI Arrests 18 L.A. Sherriff’s Deputies in Corruption/Inmate Abuse Investigation

It’s good to read how the tables can turn on the bad apples in law enforcement…

Daily Kos

One small blow, perhaps, to the burgeoning Prison Industrial Complex. From NBC News:

Nearly 20 L.A. current and former sheriff’s deputies were expected to be arrested Monday in connection with a two-year- federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse in the Los Angeles County jail system, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Monday.Some 18 deputies, most still active in the department, were either arrested without incident or were expected to surrender Monday to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the sources. None of those arrested ranked higher than lieutenant.

The sources said that the deputies are alleged to have committed crimes that include use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice. The investigation is ongoing, according to sources, but the arrests seem to culminate an investigation that included allegations that deputies tried to hide an informant who was providing information to the FBI while locked up after the deputies discovered the informant had a cell phone.

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/…

According to the article, the informant was using his cellphone to provide the FBI with photos of the ongoing inmate abuse.

The article also says that much of the onus of these arrests will fall on L.A. Chief Sheriff Lee Baca, who is seeking a fifth term. In June, the Justice Department caught some of his deputies harassing and intimidating Blacks and Latinos in L.A.’s Antelope Valley district.

Jimmy Kimmel Shows Americans Don’t Know Difference Between ACA, Obamacare (VIDEO)

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Unbelievable…

TPM Livewire

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” tested an experiment this week: Do Americans like the “Affordable Care Act” better than “Obamacare”? For that matter, do they even know that both terms refer to the same law?

After asking several individuals on the streets of Los Angeles for their opinion of each label, the late night show drew findings similar to what’s been indicated in recent polling.

 

Trayvon Martin Supporters Rally After Zimmerman Verdict

This doesn’t soften the blow of the verdict for many people.  However, it’s good to know that so many Americans agree that the young man had a “right to life”…

Time

Neighborhood Watch Reaction

Activists demand justice for Trayvon Martin after marching to Times Square from New York's Union Square

Hundreds of activists demand justice for Trayvon Martin after marching to Times Square from New York’s Union Square, July 14, 2013.

Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church hold prayer services wearing hoodies in support of slain teenager Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial in New York

Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church hold prayer services wearing hoodies in support of slain teenager Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial in New York

Also…

Thousands converged on Times Square outraged over #Zimmerman verdict.  @njburkett7pic.twitter.com/90e5gEtMd7

 

Remarkable image of the huge #‎JusticeForTrayvon rally in NYC -

Remarkable image of the huge #‎JusticeForTrayvon rally in NYC – Twitter

Across the country Trayvon Rallies graphic – Courtesy of Occupy Wall Street

Fake photo of Trayvon Martin still making the rounds

Trayvon Martin Pic – Taken a week before his death according to his family and their attorney.

See the unrelated video below this post to see how some people “stack the deck” when they want to overwhelm the “system” with their propaganda.

The Root

The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart says it’s despicable that people are circulating a photo of tattooed Los Angeles rapper The Game and saying it’s Trayvon Martin. He’s says it a vicious attempt to defame the slain teen by portraying him as a thug.

People! Listen, and listen closely. The photo you’re still passing around via e-mail is not that of Trayvon Martin. Not even close. The man in that photo is a rapper named Game. The picture was used in a May 6, 2010 story for XXL magazine. Game was 31 years old at the time.

In the last 24 hours, a friend and a reader separately forwarded me the e-mail making the rounds. “Recognize this guy? I didn’t,” the text reads, “[W]hy would the media show us a picture of a little boy instead of a current picture?????” The people who persist in peddling the Game picture as Trayvon are despicable.

They say the smiling Trayvon in the Hollister t-shirt is 12 years old. And they complain that the media are guilty of a liberal bias for showing it rather that what they think is a more up-to-date image. I asked Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump about this in February.  Trayvon was 16 when that photo was taken in August 2011. If folks want a more current picture before the teenager was killed by a single shot to the heart they ought to look at the one of him on a horse.  It was taken about a week before he was killed.

Read Jonathan Capeharts entire piece at the Washington Post.

 

Training Tea Party Activists In Guerilla Internet Tactics

Koch Brothers eye L.A. Times, other Tribune newspapers: sources

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, applauds during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Good luck with that, fellas…

Reuters

Charles and David Koch, two of the world’s richest men, are interested in Tribune’s newspaper assets, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to sources familiar with situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, L.A. Weekly reported that the Koch brothers were rumored to be interested in either all of the Tribune company, which includes 23 TV stations and national cable network WGN American, or the Tribune newspapers. The report also cited “another rumor” from a Los Angeles Times editorial board member that the Koch brothers are helping U-T San Diego newspaper owner Doug Manchester finance a bid.

According to one of the Reuters sources, the Koch brothers are not interested in Tribune’s other assets – which include the broadcast TV stations. Tribune, based in Chicago, owns eight major dailies, including The Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant.

Manchester said in statement: “We are looking forward to opportunities to employ our cross-media strategy in other markets. We have no partnership with Koch Industries or with the Koch brothers, and we don’t anticipate any such arrangement. If we were to become involved in the sale of the Tribune Company or any other media assets, we would be glad to comment at the appropriate time.”

Melissa Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector, said in a statement: “As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors.

“So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today’s news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring.”

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said the company does not comment on speculation.

The Koch Brothers – worth $34 billion, making them the world’s sixth-richest men, according to Forbes magazine – would have more than enough room to make a bid for all of Tribune’s newspapers.

Tribune’s newspapers are profitable and estimated to be worth $623 million, according to a report by Lazard, its financial adviser.

The brothers are the owners of Koch Industries, a sprawling conglomerate whose holdings include crude oil and natural gas pipelines, paper products like Dixie Cups and Angel Soft toilet tissue, and cattle ranches.

They are known for their conservative views and on the Koch Industries website explain that economic freedom means that “government is kept small and limited to those activities that contribute to societal well-being, rather than undermine it.”

Other notable names such as Warren Buffett and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch have surfaced as possible buyers for some of Tribune’s dailies. Aaron Kushner, the owner of the Orange County Register near Los Angeles, said he was “prepared to take a serious look” at Tribune’s newspapers in December.

The newspaper industry is once again becoming a hive of activity as several big city papers hit the auction block while other smaller newspapers have been snapped up by the likes of Buffett.

Tribune is the latest example of a company exploring a sale of its newspapers. The New York Times announced in February it was putting The Boston Globe and other properties in New England up for sale.

 

Christopher Dorner: cabin fire was not intentional, say police

I’ve been hesitant to write about this story due to some unresolved ambivalence on my part.

On one hand, I recognize completely that Christopher Dorner coldly murdered four people.  There is absolutely no justification for such actions by a sane and rational human being.  The question remains, however, was he sane and rational?  It seems to me Dorner had some serious psychological issues…yet…there was no talk of his psychological state.  Only that a big black ex-Navy sniper was running wild killing police officers.

This tweet summed it all up for me:

The Guardian

Sheriff’s office confirms pyrotechnic teargas canisters were launched into cabin but ‘we didn’t intend to burn it down’

Police have confirmed they started the blaze that engulfed Chris Dorner’s cabin but said the use of pyrotechnic canisters had not been intended to cause a fire.

“It was not on purpose. We didn’t intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr Dorner out,” John McMahon, a spokesperson for San Bernardino sheriff’s department, told a news conference on Wednesday night.

The admission followed speculation and controversy over whether authorities started the blaze to trap and kill a fugitive who had killed four people and terrorised police in a bloody vendetta against California‘s law enforcers.

Forensic scientists have not yet positively identified the human remains recovered from the cabin following Tuesday’s siege but McMahon said his department had little doubt they belonged to Dorner, 33, a former LAPD officer. “We believe that this investigation is over at this point.”

Link to video: Christopher Dorner: ‘police discuss burn plan’ – audio

 

The LAPD stood down from high alert and resumed regular policing, marking the end of a week-long drama of shootouts, chases and the biggest US manhunt in living memory.

Riverside police buried officer Michael Crain, 34, a father of two gunned down last week, to the accompaniment of bagpipes after a funeral cortege was led by police motorcycles.

The San Bernardino sheriff’s department named the deputy who died in Tuesday’s siege as Jeremiah MacKay, 35, a married veteran of the force with a seven-year-old daughter and four-month-old son.

Witnesses filled in details of Dorner’s dramatic bid to escape the mountains of San Bernardino, where he had holed up for five days, but key questions were left unanswered.

A sheriff’s department spokesman declined to explain how deputies missed Dorner while he hid apparently for five days in a cabin five minutes’ walk from the command centre that was used to direct a dragnet of 200 officers.

In desperation authorities drummed up a $1m reward for information leading to his capture, thought to be the largest bounty in California’s history.

The search around the mountains east of LA had been winding down on Tuesday when two housekeepers entered the cabin. Dorner tied them up and made off in a stolen purple Nissan. One of the housekeepers freed herself and alerted authorities.

Fish and wildlife department officers intercepted the vehicle and gave chase. Dorner shot and hit their vehicle but caused no injuries. He crashed, then commandeered a silver Dodge Ram pick-up belonging to Angelus Oaks resident Rick Heltebrake. Dorner pointed a rifle at Heltebrake’s head and ordered him out.

“I did not feel like he wanted to hurt me,” said the local camp ranger. “It was clear I wasn’t part of his agenda and there were other people down the road that were part of his agenda. Unfortunately he found them and now we have one less sheriff’s deputy in San Bernardino.”

Dorner briefly shook off his pursuers by overtaking two school buses and leaving the highway, said Patrick Foy, a spokesman with the fish and wildlife department, but other units found him after he again crashed. He fled on foot to the nearest rental cabin and was swiftly surrounded.

Swat teams lobbed traditional teargas canisters into the cabin but as Dorner kept firing they switched to pyrotechnic ones. “It does generate a lot of heat. We introduced those canisters into the residence and a fire erupted,” said McMahon. Such devices were called burners, he said.

The spokesman’s insistence that the blaze was not intentional appeared to be put in question by an exchange between deputies at the scene during the scene. The exchange was heard on a police scanner and published by the journalist Max Blumenthal.

“We’re gonna go ahead with the plan with the burner. Like we talked about,” said one deputy. Minutes later another deputy’s voice said: “The burner’s deployed and we have a fire.” Social media buzzed with claims that police had sought to burn Dorner alive.

10 things you need to know today: February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year celebrations take place in London on Feb. 10.

The Week

The first lady attends a Chicago teen’s funeral, the world celebrates Chinese New Year, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. NORTHEAST DIGS OUT AFTER BIG WINTER STORM
Utility workers braved temperatures in the teens on Saturday and Sunday to restore power to some 650,000 people in the Northeast who lost electricity during Winter Storm Nemo. Road crews continue to clear snow and ice from streets and sidewalks. More than three feet of snow fell in parts of Connecticut, and more than two feet accumulated on Long Island and in Massachusetts, where the storm caused coastal flooding that forced evacuations of some communities. Airlines were also trying to resume operation on Sunday after canceling some 5,000 flights since Friday. [New York Times]
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2. LAPD TO REOPEN CASE ON FIRING OF SUSPECTED COP-KILLER ON THE LAM
As the massive search for suspected cop-killer Christopher Dorner continues, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that it is reopening the investigation into why Dorner, a former LAPD officer, was fired from the force. His firing is apparently what sparked his alleged campaign of revenge that has left three people dead, including a Riverside police officer. Police Chief Charlie Beck said he was reopening the investigation “not to appease a murderer” but to assure the public that his department is fair and transparent. Dorner was stripped of his badge in 2009 after a police disciplinary board found him guilty of making false statements against his training officer, Teresa Evans, who Dorner said kicked a mentally ill man during an arrest in 2007. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. NEW U.S. COMMANDER TAKES OVER IN AFGHANISTAN
U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford has taken over command of coalition forces in Afghanistan, after Gen. John Allen handed over the baton on Sunday. Allen expressed optimism about the country’s future adding that “the big benchmark for all of us is going to be the election.” Elections are scheduled for next year, when American presence will be significantly reduced. The last elections, held in 2009, were marred by violence and allegations of corruption. [USA Today]
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4. GOOGLE CHAIRMAN TO SELL PART OF HIS STAKE
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is selling about 42 percent of his stake in the company, which could potentially net him $2.5 billion. The plan allows Schmidt to spread trades out over a period of one year to reduce the market impact. A Google spokeswoman would not comment on why Schmidt is selling the shares at this time. [Reuters]
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5. MICHELLE OBAMA ATTENDS FUNERAL OF SLAIN CHICAGO TEEN
First Lady Michelle Obama attended the Saturday funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago to mourn the teen who was shot and killed one week after performing with her majorette team at President Obama’s second inauguration. The first lady, who met privately with Pendleton’s family and about 30 of her classmates, did not speak at the funeral, which lasted four hours, and remembered the young woman who aspired to attend Harvard and study pharmacology or journalism. [Washington Post]
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6. BOEING COMPLETES TEST FLIGHT
Boeing completed what it called an “uneventful” test flight of its 787 Dreamliner, the first flight since the planes were grounded more than three weeks ago after a series of battery-related problems. The purpose of the test was to gather detailed information on the plane’s lithium-ion batteries. The grounding of the Dreamliners has cost airlines tens of millions of dollars. [Reuters]
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7. WORLD CELEBRATES LUNAR NEW YEAR 
Revelers in Beijing marked the start of the Lunar New Year on Sunday with a more muted fireworks barrage than previous years because of government appeals to reduce the smoky celebrations after air pollution rose to near catastrophic levels over recent weeks. The holiday is also being celebrated in Vietnamese and Korean communities, as well as in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. Setting off fireworks to celebrate renewal and ward off evil spirits is a traditional part of the celebration that marks China’s most important family holiday. [Associated Press]
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8. CURIOSITY TAKES HISTORIC DRILL SAMPLE
NASA’s Curiosity rover has drilled deep enough into a Mars rock to obtain a powdered sample for analysis. The grey material from the test hole, which is 16 mm wide and 20 mm deep, will be inspected before making its way to the robot’s onboard labs. Never before has the interior of a rock on another planet been probed in such a way. Drilling is crucial to the Mars mission as Curiosity is investigating whether past environments at this location could ever have supported life. [BBC]
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9. FLU SEASON NEARING END
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the flu season should be over in most of the country within two to three weeks, except in California, where the flu arrived later. Flu season hit the East in late December, almost a month earlier than usual, according to the CDC. The major flu strain circulating in the United States this season, H3N2, also appears to be causing more severe illness, especially in the elderly. [USA Today]
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10. BIG PERFORMANCES COMING AT GRAMMY AWARDS
Justin Timberlake, who will perform at Sunday evening’s Grammys, is one the most highly anticipated acts at the awards ceremony. Timberlake, who’s promoting an upcoming album, has not performed at the show in four years. The ceremony will open at 8 PM ET with a performance by Taylor Swift, and sprinkled throughout the night will be performances by Bruno Mars, Sting, and Rihanna, The Black Keys, Fun., Kelly Clarkson, and more. [Grammy.com]